I downloaded Yeezus.
I haven't been really into a Kanye West album since Graduation dropped, and wasn't sure what to expect. I was excited to hear the production when I saw that Arca, Daft Punk, and Hudson Mohawke helped out, and I knew that I can usually count on West to have good production anyway. Being a producer is actually where he got his start! At one point in my life, I really thought of Mr. West as a great hip-hop artist. But the only things that come to mind when I think of contemporary Kanye is his arrogance, that weird outfit he wore, and Kim Kardashian. Sure, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was good, but I didn't really get into it. I never really listened to it on my own, I just heard it everywhere I went for a while.
Now we see the birth of Yeezus. I started with "On Sight," the album opener, and was taken aback by the lo-fi techno production even though I kind of figured it would be something like this with acts like Daft Punk and Arca producing. Is this industrial? Is this hip-hop? What's going on? I skipped to around 30 seconds in, and felt pretty bleh even though I was intrigued. I decided to keep moving.
Naturally, I chose "I am a God" because religion fascinates me. I'm very interested in Hinduism and I have a never-ending (and some would say "bizarre") obsession with the Puritans. And, knowing about Kanye's frequent bursts of self-important statements and actions, I figured this is an important song to him. Of course he would liken himself to a god.
"I am a God" is dangerous. Uh oh, delusions of grandeur induced by increasing god complexes will soon sweep the country! The West represented in this track is a dark god, a black god (no, I don't mean "black" racially). A demanding, unforgiving, greedy god. This god finds himself unchained to guilt. As long as I listen to this, my conscience will remain guilt-free, like West's. I can do whatever I want to people, say whatever I want to people… Nothing matters. It's a long way from "Jesus Walks."
I can hear someone I once knew saying, "This is devil music!" I don't know about that statement... but this is undeniably a bold song. But of course he does it in a witty, humorous way. Kind of. I do think he believes he's a god in some respect. It's not hard to think that.
Yes, the beat is ill. Produced by Daft Punk, Hudson Mohawke, Travi$ Scott, Mike Dean, Rick Rubin, and yes, Kanye West. There is screaming involved, and I like it. Oh yeah, and Justin Vernon, of Bon Iver, Volcano Choir, Gayngs, etc. fame, is on the track. There's not enough of a feature of his talents for me to say anything else.
And there is not much more I want to say about this album. It is groundbreaking and can change mainstream hip-hop/rap forever, and I'm sure all of the critics are eating it up so feel free to read what they think — and more importantly, develop your own opinion, of course. What I do suggest, though, is going back and listening to his debut, College Dropout, so you can remember the Kanye West the world was introduced to. "Through the Wire" is the first single he shared with us. Now he's wondering where his damn croissants are.
(Sorry if the Yeezus links don't work, I assume they'll be taken down pretty quickly.)